They Ain’t No Trucks In Texas!

John Hunter Nemechek
(photo courtesy Rachelrgmphotography)

Historically speaking, the Texas Motor Speedway high banks have been a refined art for competitors. Three drivers (Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine) have earned at least five wins at the track. Bodine leads everyone with six Texas trophies. Brendan Gaughan boasts a record four consecutive wins – sweeping the 2002 and 2003 seasons.john

The series returns to action and makes its first Texas stop in Saturday’s 220 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM Radio) where Sauter would love to reclaim some of the winning magic he used to sweep the 2012 series stops and to earn trophies in consecutive years from 2016-18.

The driver of the No. 13 ThorSport Toyota, could certainly use a good run Saturday. The veteran is 10th in the series Playoff outlook two points ahead of Austin Wayne Self in 11th – the first spot outside the Playoff cutoff.

Sauter has 11 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 25 Texas Truck Series starts, however his last top 10 came in 2019 (third). It’s been an all-or-nothing type year for Sauter who has four top-10 finishes but also three DNFs. His last top-10 came at Darlington (sixth) three races ago.

Certainly those competitors leading the driver standings, three-race winner John Hunter Nemechek and two-race winner Ben Rhodes, would love to up their game on the Fort Worth track. Nemechek, who leads the points standings, has eight top-10 finishes in the seasons’ 10 races, but has only a single top-10 Truck Series finish in five Texas starts. The last time the driver of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota raced a truck at the track was 2017.

Rhodes, driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Toyota, has four career top-10 finishes in 10 Texas starts – a best of runner-up in 2018. He currently boasts a series-best nine top-10 finishes this season, including the last six races.

Reigning series champion Sheldon Creed, joins Sauter and Matt Crafton as the only series regulars to have tipped his hat in Texas Victory Lane – winning from pole position last Fall after leading a dominating 131 of the 152 laps. The driver of the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet would absolutely like to reclaim some of that magic. He won at Darlington but has a pair of finishes 30th or worse in the last four races.

Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Austin Hill – last year’s regular season champion – is another that could use an invigorating victory this weekend. After shaky season start, he’s finished top-10 in seven of the last eight races. His best work in three top-10 finishes in nine Texas starts is runner-up last Fall.

This weekend’s race will feature a pair of NASCAR Cup Series regulars amongst the championship contenders. Chase Elliott (No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet) and Ross Chastain (No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet) are entered. Elliott won an Xfinity Series race at the track in 2014.


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